Routines and Rituals…You Love Them Or You Don’t

We wake up in the morning, eat breakfast, get dressed, do all we need to in order to get ready for the day. Then we go to school or work and spend hours doing those things. We come home, do dishes, homework, fix something, relax, watch TV or a movie, play video games, listen to music, take a nap, go to church, meditate, do yoga, exercise, spend time with our family, etc. So many things can happen, but we have those days where we have to run errands, we go over a friends house, go to an appointment, dine out on certain days. Several combinations of these events can happen in any order and the number of them varies with all of us. This is what a routine and a ritual is.

Routines are a part of our lives. Some of us have daily routines that we follow every day. Some of us may not have one, not know how to make one, or not able to stick with them. Now if you don’t have a routine, your not alone. There is a lot of people who don’t know what they’ll do today, the next day, or a few days from now and that’s fine. If you have a daily routine with a little, some, or many things packed into it, your also not alone. A lot of people have something or things they need to get done every day, the next day, the end of the week, and by the end of the month. Routines can make or break us though.

A ritual is the same thing as a ritual, but a little different in terms of your attitude toward them. A morning ritual that includes meditation for example, is very helpful for some people because it helps them relax and focus their minds. Rituals have a deep meaning to people. There are people who see yoga as a ritual because yoga helps them in mentally and physically. Those who engage in rituals have a positive attitude toward them and get some kind of benefit out of them. You may already be involved in a ritual. If it’s helping you and keeping you healthy and safe, stick with it. If you don’t have one, that’s fine. If you want one, I would suggest that you start experimenting more with your hobbies and what you like to do to see what impact they are having on your life. If you want to try something new, go for it. Keep experimenting until you find what your looking for.

Routines have a positive and negative to them. The positive thing about them is that they can provide us with structure in our lives. Routines can be a foundation to different things in our life. They can help us keep track of various tasks and errands that need to get done. Routines can help set the tone for our minds for the day. A routine is helpful for keeping us on track with things and can stave off stress. There are people who use planners, write everything they need to get down on their calendars especially if they have a lot going on.

The negative side to having a routine is that too much structure can cause unwanted stress. People try to take into account every minute of every day and try to schedule something in it. The reality is that life can throw a curve ball at you at any moment and mess things up. This can cause any thing that is planned at a later time to fall off track. This can result in scrambling and stress. Routines can also cause your life to become stale. You do the same thing every day and nothing new gets mixed in. Sometimes people don’t notice this until someone points it out to them. Things can get boring and you may not know what to do about it because you have been doing it for quite some time it may have become second nature to you.

If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut with your routine or you want to spice things up in your life, here are some tips on how to do that:

  • Meet a new person, new people
  • Drive a different way to work
  • Change the order you do your homework
  • Do something you don’t normally do like go to a movie after school or after work
  • Try a new restaurant
  • Hang out somewhere different
  • Try a new food
  • Learn a new thing
  • Change the way you exercise. Add more reps, a new exercise, the order and what day you them

A routine and what you define as a ritual can be incorporated into your life. It’s all about finding the right balance that works for you. If you don’t have a routine and want to make one, I would suggest that you start slow. For example, schedule to do one thing every morning whatever that is. As time goes on, add more things. You can plan an activity to do in the afternoon. Whatever you decide, make sure it’s not more than you can handle. You don’t have to fill up every minute or hour of the day.

Your attitude is what will inform you on what is working for you and what isn’t. For example, if you always feel rushed when doing something because you want to get it done and move on to the next thing, then you may need to make some adjustments to eliminate unwanted anxiety and stress. If your doing something and you can’t enjoy it because your thinking about the next thing or something else, an adjustment may need to be made as well. Remember to enjoy the things you do even when you’re eating something; that is what makes life great. It’s easy to get caught up in what we need to do that we forget to enjoy life. I’m still learning this and working at it, but Ferris Bueller said it well. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it”.

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